The All-Too-Important Conversation about Pet Nick-names

Back in the Mythical Golden Days of 2019, when the Earth was green and there were unicorns, there was a marvelous meme on Twitter about what people called their pets – not their “official” names, but their nicknames-how they actually referred to them commonly.

I think it started with @metroadlib who posted this about her pup:

I found this hysterically funny and realized it hit pretty close-to-home. My kitties have proper names, of course, and since I haven’t produced human offspring, I felt it my duty to carry on family names with the children that I do have – albeit vertically challenged, hairy, and four-pawed.

Keegan is Keegan James Ferguson. His fosterer named him Keegan, because it was Gaelic for “Ball of Fire.” He’s a large, flamboyantly orange, stripey guy and a ballbuster, so it was perfect for him, as well as the fact that I’m of Scottish descent and it was actually beyond perfect that my kid be given a Scottish name.

The “James” is for my dad; it’s his first name. As I couldn’t give my father a human grandchild, I gave him a namesake that I still loved as much as if I’d birthed him. I’m not positive my father fully gets the honor.

When Brodie came along, it actually took me a bit to find his name. He was so tiny when I got him, only 5-weeks old and barely the size of my hand. I struggled looking for other Scottish monikers that would suit until I ran across the ideal name for this delightful, spunky little soul who darted about on wobbly kitten paws like a drunken sailor, furiously and devotedly (and somewhat unwelcomely) attached his new “big brother,” Keegan.

The name Brodie is from the Scots Gaelic too, and it means “little brother.”

How perfect for him and his inquisitive, intrusive zeal for all of life (and particular fascination with Keegan). He is, in fact, Brodie Green Ferguson. “Green” is a middle name passed down among the men of my father’s family for over 200 years. Again, not entirely sure my father grasps my efforts to maintain the historic significance of the name.

Nicknames for my cats developed over the years, as they will, but it took me running across the Twitter meme to realize all the truly crazy things I call them. And I should add that unlike @metroadlib, I call them by their “proper names” probably much less than 7% of the time.

Dear Lord. Some of the things that come out of my mouth tossed in their directions, I have no idea of the origin, but they fit them perfectly and hey, they sometimes answer.

Keegan: Keegs, Mister, Sir Keegs-a-lot, Orange Guy, Keegles, Keeg-o-matic, Bruiser, Buster, BigandTallSizes, Dude, Dude-eronomy, Kittyface, Tawny Kit-taen, Oldest Child, My Heart, KittenySpears, KiddleKat, Couch Tiger, KeeganJamesIveToldYouTwiceDammit.

Brodie: Brodester, Brode-a-licious, Brode-a-luff-a-gus, Detective Inspector, D.I. Ferguson, Brodie-butt, Sweet Pea, Fluffernutter, The World’s Tiniest and Fluffiest Mountain Lion, Scooter, Scoot, Love Bug, Schmoop, Brodiestopthatrightnowyouheardmemister, Precious Heart.

Of course, this list continues to grow. And please, don’t let me forget, there are names for the two together, as well, like “Frick and Frack” and “Skittles and Bits.”

So tell me! What do you call your babies?


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